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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Belgium: A Review

For years, we here at BDF have been voyaging far and wide* to learn about new cultures and then share our discoveries with you. Over time we have visited* and reviewed Norwegia, Sweden, and Finland among others.

We recently had a request in the comment section of an article to review Belgium. Actually, the commenter literally just said "Visit Belgium" so maybe he was employee of the Belgian Tourist Bureau or something. In any case, we took up the challenge.

Historically, Belgium was home for two primary linguistic groups: French-speakers and a smattering of German-speakers. (thanks Wikipedia!) But this is no longer the case. After the communist uprising of 1955, small cabals of rebels created a network of pirate radio stations to further the cause of liberating Belgium from the People's Party of Belgium. As time stretched on, technology grew and those pirate radio stations became pirate television stations. Pirate television stations that showed reruns of Star Trek. Alot.

Consequently, the rebels began speaking Klingon as a rudimentary code amongst themselves. Once the People's Party of Belgium was overthrown in 1987, Klingon became the official language of Belgium.

Not a Belgian (at least, he probably isn't)

Now some might point out that Klingon's never actually spoke the Klingon language in the original television show and in fact, the fictional language of the Klingon's wasn't created until Star Trek: The Motion Picture. But those people are nerds and we generally ignore nerds. Most people do. That's why they are nerds.

Many people know that a major city in Belgium is Antwerp. Antwerp is huge in the diamond trade. Huge. The reason that Belgium has access to so many diamonds is that Belgians create diamonds themselves. Literally.

It is a little known fact that while all human beings are carbon based, Belgians have a much higher percentage of carbon in their body. When an adult male of Belgian extraction limits himself to a diet of baked beans and cheese, the consequent constipation and buildup of gases leads to the creation of diamonds in the Belgian male's lower intestine. One month later, he will literally shit out a diamond. Because of how easy they are to create, Belgians don't put much value in diamonds.

Another fascinating oddity about Belgium is the fact that the country is completely devoid of trees. As such, Belgians are positively enthralled with leaves. Such is the Belgians enchantment with leaves that their entire monetary system is based upon them.

Not Belgium

Also, pretty much every household in the country owns at least two copies of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. That may have nothing to do with the leaf thing and may just be because it is an awesome book.

While Belgians don't value diamonds, they are aware that others do. As such, Antwerp is not only a major distributor of diamonds, but also of leaves. A 2 carat diamond goes for about a pound of red leaves or two pounds of green leaves. Yellow leaves hold no worth for Belgians as they believe that those leaves are unripe.

If you feel that it is wrong for so many diamond brokers to take advantage of the poor Belgians and their passion for leaves, you might want to check out the official website of Belgium and search for a good contact address. And then send them some bags of leaves. Lots of them.**

There are many other amazing and true*** facts about Belgium we could share with you, but time and space doesn't allow further exploration at this time. But we will tell you this, should you ever choose to visit Belgium there is one thing that you need to know: much like their neighbors the French, the denizens of Belgium fucking love mimes. Those silent bastards are everywhere in that country. Everywhere.

* By "visited" we mean "completely made shit up from the comfort of our homes".

** There is a very good chance the Belgian government won't find this funny. But we will.

*** Virtually nothing in this article is true.

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